Julie Green, from UpUpCreative, gave me the low down on the crafty scene in Rochester, New York. Julie is a talented graphic designer whose work is bright & bold. She’s also the brains behind the Each Penny Pretty design blog. Check her out on Twitter!
Janice Hagey-Schmidt: From a young age I was going to the library checking out craft techniques. I used to paint metal shapes and glass bottles as a kid. Later I progressed to throwing pots and bowls on a wheel. I was thrilled with the use of underglazes on porcelain. And then… one day I took a metalsmithing class at a community college. I have been working mainly with metal ever since. But… I make my living as a graphic designer. Metalsmithing is my art.
Have I ever told you the story about the crazy lady who read my palms in the spring of 2008? If so, skip ahead…if not, here goes….
Carnival – Vintage Paper and Recycled Cardboard Uber Cuff (above) by butternutsquash
My son had somehow convinced me to take him to a mini-carnival/fundraiser thing that he had heard about through a friend at school. Admission, food and games were all by donation, so when we got there I just gave them twenty bucks and told them to give me as many tickets as they saw fit. Apparently, $20 gets you quite a bit at one of these things because we were given tickets for hot dogs, drinks, popcorn, cotton candy, games, face painting and a coupon for a 15 minute session with the palm reader.
Palm Reading Chart on Upcycled Dictionary Page by Collage-o-Rama
After we ate, played a few games of skill and wandered around for a while, my son decided to watch some sort of martial arts demo and I figured it was time to go see “Madam X”. I should go on the record as saying that although I am not against psychics in general, I don’t place that much stock in them and I doubt that I would actually pay to see one. I am sure that there are plenty of nice people out there with “enhanced intuition”, but what are the chances of finding one in a parking lot in New Westminster, BC?
Cotton Candy Upcycled Patchwork Armwarmers by Smarmy Clothes
Anyway, I sat down and it took me about 13 seconds to realize that this woman was either legit or completely nuts (or both), but I gave her my hands and the benefit of the doubt. She was all over the place, and at first I wondered if she was ever going to get going with my reading before my time ran out (she was even more random than me; which is saying something), but she eventually did and it was actually rather interesting.
Letterpress 100% Recycled Cardstock Fortune Teller by Sycamore Street Press
At the time, I was struggling with whether or not I should leave Vancouver and move back to my hometown, Winnipeg. I was at the tail-end of a relationship that really wasn’t worth putting any more effort into, but at the same time I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being a quitter. Of course, it was the first thing that she brought up and her advice, for what it was worth, was to leave. She said that I had done what I needed to do on the West Coast and I was ready to return to go home.
Dream – Recycled Magnetic Locket Set by This Years Girl
What really struck me most about my conversation with her was her insistence that if I made the move, I would become very active in my community and would work for a cause that I was very passionate about. Ever the literal one, I assumed at the time that she was referring to a physical “community”, like a neighbourhood. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a little on the apathetic side when it comes to civic politics, so I was curious (and a little doubtful) as to how that prediction would play out.
Recycled Billboard Banner Journal by NottyPooch
I realize now that the cause I am passionate in is handmade goods (and eco-friendly ones in particular) and the community that I have become active in is the wonderful crafts community, both locally and globally, thanks to this site. Not only am I happy making and selling my own goods, I am thrilled to be part of the fantastic Winnipeg crafts scene and get excited each and every week that I get to come here and feature a handful of makers from around the world.
I am still on the fence about whether or not the parking lot palmist could really see into my future, but I’m glad she planted the seed in my head and made me *want* to take an active role in something that I believe in. Well worth my $20, I’d say!
Eco-friendly Thank You Cards with Recycled Brown-Bag Envelopes by Tucci Paper Company
The image above is from Gbrosseau Photo
I’m writing this at the end of a wonderful long weekend, and as the title suggests, I’m pondering the meaning of the word home. Why now? It’s been on my mind for months really… We currently live right downtown – and while many of our friends have found this to be an ideal environment for raising kids, for me personally, I’m not sure that it feels right.
Both my husband and I fondly remember childhood days spent frolicking in the forests near our homes, building forts, exploring, and having “adventures”. For me time spent in the forest feels as natural as eating or sleeping – despite having lived in cities of various sizes from the age of 11.
The city we live in and the surrounding countryside have an increasing problem of affordability – and many people are forced to move further and further out into the suburbs.
While the suburbs are an option – my husband will continue to work in the city for the foreseeable future, and many of the suburban areas that appeal to us involve an hour and a half commute. And I think it’s tough to know on the outset what kind of experience you’ll have in the suburb you choose. Some neighbourhoods are certainly more community minded and friendlier than others.
This past Tuesday I was busy planning our hike for this weekend and thought it’d be fun to go a bit further afield than usual, to Bowen Island (a 30 minute ferry ride from downtown). I started reading about this jewel of an island on the Pacific and I really liked what I read. I was actually so distracted by everything that I read that it made it tough to work that evening. We decided we ought to go for the weekend as perhaps this is just the type of place we want to call home. Bowen is a heavily forested island with a year round population of 3,000 people that swells to over 4,000 in the summer. It has a quaint downtown with shops, restaurants and a vibrant artisan community. There are no chain stores of any kind. Instead you’ll find miles and miles of trees and hiking trails, hemmed in by rocky bluffs and sandy beaches. The island has a strong history as a place of deep community ties and its populace is very involved in civic affairs.
The image above is from Spread the Love
After this weekend I’ve fallen in love with the island and I know my husband has warmed to it too. As city folks we aren’t that involved in our community right now. It’s easy not to be in the city. I volunteer as much as I can for a local social enterprise, and we make time to see our close friends – but other than that we often find ourselves working long hours, which often seems necessary to keep our entrepreneurial ventures healthy. Now as we ponder the next stage of our lives, thinking about our future children and putting down roots, we’re forced to ask ourselves just what home means to us, and what we should prioritize. We’re planning to visit Bowen again in September to learn more about the island, and we’re considering giving it a test run as renters, perhaps next spring. So for now, things are up in the air – but in the meantime, it’s given us plenty of food for thought as we plan for the future.
I’d love to hear some of your experiences as you were looking to settle down and have kids!
The spring craft market circuit is really starting to get fired up! This is an off week for me – but I attended shows the last two weekends. Craft markets are a great way to find local crafters & designers in your area and support local tourism at the same time. So I decided to peruse craft show listings to find inspiration for this week’s Shop Local post.
The Spring Bada-Bing, in Richmond, VA really jumped out! The show is in it’s fourth year and is hosted by the Richmond Craft Mafia (a member of the Austin Craft Mafia family) – whose slogan is “rubbin’ out the massed produced.” The SBB is held at the Plant Zero Arts Center, a community center with space for studios & apartments for artists, a cafe, & exhibition space. This year’s SBB will be help on Sunday, April 19 from 11 am – 4 pm.
A member of the Richmond Craft Mafia, Tasha McKelvey is a clay artist specializing in kitchenware & ceramic jewelry. She prides herself on creating art that is meant to be used & touched. She says, “today our homes are filled with stuff stamped out by machines. When we seek out handmade art we make our surroundings a little more human.”
I’ll admit it – the skulls caught my eye on this one! Crystal J. Silk uses traditional silk painting and dying techniques but creates anything-but-traditional patterns. Her work is vibrant, graphic, and quite hip. What would the boardroom think if you paired this silk scarf with a boring blank suit? Or just dressing up a T and jeans?
Erica Vess, who created this adorable “Up, Up & Away” digital print, is the brains behind BeesKneesStudio. Erica is VA born & raised and holds a BFA in painting & printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also creates acrylic paintings, tiny watercolors, and fine art prints.
Craft is certainly alive in Richmond, VA. Do you know of an emerging craft community? Please drop me at line at tara AT handmadeinpa DOT net.